A family selection:-

Jon’s Spinach Soup

Spin soup

As far as I remember this was my first ‘signature dish’ much in demand by the family.

Tip: If you use crème fresh or yogurt it can taste sharper than milk or cream so take care if you add lemon juice.


2 Shallots finely chopped. (60kcal)

Olive oil for frying (1 tbsp. = 100kcal)

500g Frozen spinach (or equivalent fresh leaf spinach) (155kcal)

500ml. vegetable stock (20kcal)

500ml semi-skimmed milk (or add more water) (235kcal)

A good grating of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Slices of lemon

2 or 3 tbsp. low fat crème fresh or yogurt. (4% low fat crème fresh =15 to 25 kcal)


Gently fry the shallots in a large saucepan and add the spinach, the stock and simmer for about 20 minutes after the spinach has defrosted. Add the nutmeg and seasoning with a little of the milk or more water and blend in a liquidiser or food processor. Return to the saucepan and add more milk or water and half of the crème fresh, adjust the seasoning and serve with a slice of lemon and a swirl of the cream on top.

Serves 4 as a starter. Total calories per serving 150 kcal. Use more water, instead of milk and it’s a low calorie soup of 100kcal per serving including a little low fat cream.

Celery and Leek soup

This based on and old WEIGHT-WATCHERS RECIPE so it’s especially good if you want to loose a little weight.

Tip: I use the ‘jelly kind of stock’ pots as there seams to be less salt.The soup serves 6 and based on this it is around 55 kcal per serving.


350g Celery, diced small (50kcal)

350g Leeks, sliced small (215kcal)

2 small garlic cloves, crushed (8kcal)

1 tbsp. light soy sauce (optional) (20kcal)

850 ml. vegetable stock (20kcal)

1 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.


Place all the ingredients except the salt and pepper, in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Either blend or liquidise the whole soup until smooth or remove about 1/3rd of the soup and set aside, blend the remainder and return the unblended soup and re-heat. Add the salt and pepper to adjust the seasoning before serving.

Sabine's Red Lentil soup

For 6 portions the original recipe suggests 300 kcal per serving using milk. I have omitted the milk for my recipe (adding more water) and finishing with the low fat cream. So for 6 servings we can achieve less than 200 kcal per serving.


250g Red lentils (860kcal)

1 Onion chopped (150g) (65kcal)

150g chopped carrots (65kcal)

1 ½ l Vegetable stock (20kcal)

Oil for frying (90kcal)

2 or 3 tbsp. low fat cream or yogurt. (25kcal)

Juice of half a lemon or lime.

Salt and fresh black pepper to taste.


Gently fry the onion in a little oil, add the stock and carrots, bring to the boil before adding the lentils and other ingredients and seasoning to your taste. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. Blitz the soup with a stick blender or transfer to a food processor. Serve with a slice of lemon and a swirl of low fat cream or yogurt.

You can add a little mild chilli or other spices (cumin, coriander, paprika) as you like.

Hummus (Chickpeas)



4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. (360kcal)

1 can of chick peas 400g. (480kcal) (Keep some of the juice and add it later if the mixture is too stiff)

The juice of 1 lemon. (12kcal)

1 tablespoons sesame puree “tahini” (150kcal)

1 garlic of clove. (5kcal)

1 tablespoon ground cumin – or to taste. (This is optional)

A little salt as necessary.


Mix everything in a blender, add a little juice extra chick pea juice if necessary, and adjust lemon and seasoning to your taste. Serve as a dip with bread or toast or as part of a mezze.

You will see from my calorie count that both of these dishes are relatively high, but bearing in mind that they are a dip or part of a selection or mezze an average serving should be around 150kcal

Caviar of Aubergines


A similar or complementary dip to the Hummus (above).


4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. (360kcal)

2 large aubergines. (880kcal)

The juice of a lemon. (12kcal)

1 tablespoons sesame puree “tahini” (150kcal)

1 garlic clove. (5kcal)

A little salt if necessary.


Prick the aubergines and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Allow them to cool, scrape out the flesh into a sieve and let the bitter juices drain away; mix everything in a blender until smooth.

Serve as a dip with bread or toast or as part of a mezze.

Squeaky cheese- fried Hallouni

A Cypriot recipe with Halloumi cheese and a lime and caper dressing makes a refreshing starter for 4 people. It is sometimes difficult to find Halloumi cheese although it has become available in UK, France and in Germany.

I usually fry and serve 2 portions at a time and don’t let polite guests wait for me! 

If the fried cheese gets too cold it can become a little hard and squeaky which is why my family always called this dish ‘squeaky cheese’.

At around 300 kcal. per serving it’s not for every day but I believe that there is now a low fat version although I am not sure how good it is for frying.


250g Halloumi cheese (830kcal)

Olive oil frying. (180kcal)

2 tbsp. seasoned flour. (be careful with extra salt)

For the dressing

Juice and zest of 1 or 2 limes  (15kcal)

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar (15kcal)

1 tbsp. capers, drained (3kcal)

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (5kcal)

1 tsp grain Dijon mustard (3kcal)

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (180kcal)

1 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander leaves. (You can use a little ground coriander but it’s not as good)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.


First prepare the dressing by simply mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set it aside keeping it at room temperature to avoid cooling the fried cheese.

Just before serving unwrap the cheese and cut into 8 equal slices. Dry it with kitchen paper.

When you are ready to serve the halloumi, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, press each slice of cheese into the flour to coat both sides then add them to the hot pan. Cook each piece for a minuet on each side. They should be golden on each side. Serve them straight away on warm plates with the dressing pored over.